With finals in full swing and the holidays right around the corner, it’s easy to put off packing and logistics until the last minute. But before heading home for winter break, there are a few things students can do to ensure their return to school is happy and safe. Some winter-proofing, securing and cleaning before leaving for winter break will make sure your school home is ready for your return come January!
Secure Your Valuables
The smartest thing to do with your valuables is to bring them home with you, however, sometimes there’s just not enough room. Get creative with hiding spaces and be sure to hide the things you care about. Your underwear drawer and under your bed are some of the most common hiding spots, and therefore the worst places to hide anything, so think outside the box. Fill your trash can with “clean” trash and stow valuables in the bottom. A hamper of dirty clothes will also do the trick! Make sure to keep track of all your electronics’ serial numbers in the event that something is stolen.
Make sure to lock all windows and doors upon leaving, and close your blinds if your room looks out onto the street. Unfortunately, sometimes even the most conscientious efforts against theft can’t protect you fully. Your school, parents’ or landlord’s insurance often may not cover your own valuables, so if you are worried, you can buy a renter’s insurance policy to protect you against theft.
Clean Out That Mini-Fridge
No, seriously. You should. I remember coming back from winter break my freshman year to discover lots and lots of mold in many of my friend’s mini-fridges. Our school, like many, required us to unplug our mini-fridges and other electronics over the break. Luckily, my roommate was a fridge de-frosting pro and ours was fine, but there is quite a bit of room for disaster in this area. Whether you need to defrost your dorm mini-fridge or are leaving behind your apartment fridge for a month, there are a few tips and tricks that will keep you from returning to a stinky, smelly, moldy fridge (you don’t want this to happen to you).
First and foremost, whether you have a mini-fridge or a full fridge, be sure to remove all food that has even the slightest chance of going bad over the course of a month. You may want to wipe down the fridge before heading out for break, but during finals, I understand that’s probably last priority. For those with a full fridge, you can stop here. For those of you with a mini-fridge, here’s a super helpful guide for defrosting your fridge from eHow.
Winterize Your Space
Before you leave your room, make sure all windows are shut and locked, and that screens have been replaced with their glass counterparts. Turn your heat on low to save energy while you are gone, but make sure it is high enough so nothing freezes. Many universities require you to turn your heat to the lowest setting before leaving for break also. Make sure to remove trash before leaving and be mindful of any fire hazards – make sure fire alarms are unobstructed, nothing is left near the radiators and any space heaters are turned off and unplugged.
Photo by elisasizzle